Mic Check: “It’s been a watershed year” – Nicole Bryan ahead of Tasktop Connect 2018

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Ahead of Tasktop Connect next week (December 6th, Washington, DC) I’ve been speaking to some of the scheduled speakers to give you a flavour of what to expect from the event. In the last interview of the series, Nicole Bryan – Tasktop’s VP of Product Management – reflects on the last 12 months between the two events and the emergence of Value Stream Management.

Nicole during last year’s Connect. Photo: Robb McCormick Photography – https://www.robbmccormick.com

Hi Nicole! As a speaker at the inaugural Tasktop Connect 2017, how did you find the experience as both as a speaker and as an attendee?

What inspired me most about Connect 2017 was how personal and focused the content was. Unsurprisingly, Gene Kim gave a fabulous keynote, but what inspired me most was hearing our customers talk about their varied experiences in trying to improve their software delivery. That inspiration is really what has driven Tasktop Integration Hub for the last year in terms of what features and functionality we’ve added to support our customers’ journeys. As a speaker, I certainly appreciated an engaged and interested audience – especially since I was the last speaker and everyone was quite tired.

What were you main takeaways from last year’s event?

It was crystal clear from all of the talks that, fundamentally, Agile and DevOps is not enough. At the same time, it was not entirely clear what the missing piece was. This last 12 months has been a watershed year in the sense that the notion of Value Stream Management has emerged as that missing piece.

You’re speaking again this year. What will you be talking about and what do you hope the audience will glean from your session?

I’ll be focusing on how Tasktop Integration Hub and our roadmap has evolved and talking about how complex integration scenarios are accomplished with Hub. We want our customers to feel confident that they understand how Hub is evolving to address their core needs and enable them to use integration to implement a end-to-end value stream approach to software delivery.

With so many annual industry events serving the DevOps, Agile and IT communities, what value does Tasktop Connect offer time- and cash-strapped attendees?

In my experience, sometimes industry events just have too much good stuff to see because of a large number of attendees with diverse interests and problems. Meaning you spend a lot of time racing around between sessions, often sacrificing session X for session Y.  At Connect, we still have lots of good stuff but in one place – and more tailored towards our customers needs – enterprise integration, flow, value streams, project to product, shared experiences. Still lively and informative discussion, but at a more focused and digestible pace.

What excites you about this year’s event? Any particular topics or discussions you’re hoping to have with the Connect Community? What do you want to get out of the conference?

I’m most excited to hear more about Mik’s Flow Framework™ and the underpinnings of moving from Project to Product. The topic of project to product was extremely popular at DOES Vegas and London this year, and I think Connect will help give concrete ways to really move to product-thinking by implementing the Flow Framework™.

Your session at DevOps Enterprise Summit 2018 in Vegas with Nationwide’s Kevin Fisher seemed like a huge success. There was only standing room by the time you started. I noticed that a lot attendees made a beeline for you immediately after the session? What did they want to know?

“How, how, how?” That was what everyone was asking – help us to know how to move to product thinking and how to do product modelling. Supporting our customers on that journey is now a huge priority for Tasktop.

During your presentation last year, you were looking to define the concept of value stream networks. How has that message evolved over the last year?

Well, as I mentioned above, I think the industry really recognizes that Agile and DevOps is not enough, and once people see that then it is really a natural progression to “well, what is needed?” And Value Stream Management, of which Value Stream Networks is a core component, really is that missing piece. Forrester’s reports on Value Stream Management (see below) have helped get the word out about this new approach to delivering software – and now the Flow Framework™ goes into great detail about Value Stream Networks specifically. So in terms of evolving, we’ve gone beyond theory now as there’s a clear path to realizing the vision we’ve been setting out.

Any final words to tempt people sitting on the fence about attending?

If you don’t come to Connect, you’ll miss out on all of Carmen DeArdo’s off the cuff jokes! But seriously, how often do you get three industry luminaries – Mik Kersten, Carmen DeArdo and Dominica DeGrandis – together in a very intimate environment for one day? Where you can ask them anything? And, the Newseum in DC is a terrific venue – not a boring hotel with no windows. The stage is set for a hell of an event.

Nicole in action!

DevOps Enterprise Summit 2018

Tasktop Connect 2017

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Join our Flow Framework™ Partner Day – December 5th

We have also seen a big spike of interest from consultants and services provides who are supporting customers on this journey, and see the Flow Framework™ as a key enabler. To address this, we’re running a Flow Framework™ Partner Day on the day prior to the conference. Those attending the partner day will benefit from our very latest materials and practices. To sign up for this exclusive opportunity, please contact Grace Smith.

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Download Forrester reports on Value Stream Management

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